Rob Jacob


Robert J.K. Jacob
Dept. of Computer Science
Tufts University
Halligan Hall
177 College Avenue
Medford, MA 02155 U.S.A.

Email: Email address

Office: Cummings 357
Phone: 617-627-2225
Fax: 617-627-2227

The HCI lab is in the Joyce Cummings Center at 177 College Avenue. The lab is on the third floor, room 362.


Robert Jacob is a Professor of Computer Science at Tufts University, where his research interests are new interaction modes and techniques and user interface software; his current work focuses on implicit brain-computer interfaces. He has been a visiting professor at the University College London Interaction Centre, Universite Paris-Sud, and the MIT Media Laboratory. Before coming to Tufts, he was in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the Naval Research Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and he is a member of the editorial board for the journal Human-Computer Interaction and a founding member for ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. He has served as Vice-President of ACM SIGCHI, Papers Co-Chair of the CHI and UIST conferences, and General Co-Chair of UIST and TEI. He was elected as a member of the ACM CHI Academy in 2007 and as an ACM Fellow in 2016.

Current Research: Implicit Brain-Computer Interfaces

The current focus in my research group is on a new generation of "implicit" brain-computer interfaces. They allow a computer to obtain and act on auxiliary inputs from its user without requiring explicit user action or attention. Brain-computer interaction has made dramatic progress, but its main application to date has been for physically disabled users. Our work in real-time measurement and machine learning classification of functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) brain data is allows to create, use, and study new kinds of implicit user interfaces based on brain measurement.

We are using brain input as a way to obtain more information about the user and their context in an effortless and direct way from their brain activity. We then use it to adapt the user interface in real time. We are creating and studying these new user interfaces, with emphasis on domains where we can measure their efficacy.

We are now also broadening this work to include other forms of lightweight, passive, real-time adaptive implicit interaction, based on physiological or other measurements. Our focus continues to be on the design of subtle and effective implicit interfaces that make judicious use of the measurements we can obtain.

[General article]

[Overview chapter]

[More papers]

Brain project image      Brain project image      Brain project image

Papers, Talks, News

Some Previous Research Projects

Image from the project

Reality-based Interaction: Understanding the Next Generation of User Interfaces
[project]   [CHI paper]   [CHI workshop]

Image from the project

Tangible Programming for children
[Michael Horn]   [project]   [Robot Park] at Boston Museum of Science

Image from the project

TUIMS: Tangible User Interface Management System
[Orit Shaer]   [paper]


Fall 2024

Spring 2024

Ph.D. Alumni

Some Links

Ridiculous bio from chatgpt, for amusement purposes only, don't believe this

Robert J.K. Jacob is a distinguished computer scientist and researcher renowned for his pioneering work in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and computer graphics. Throughout his illustrious career, he has contributed significantly to advancing the way humans interact with computers and digital systems.

Dr. Jacob serves as a Professor of Computer Science at Tufts University, where he has been an influential faculty member. His research has delved into a wide range of topics, including user interfaces, interactive systems, virtual reality, and innovative input devices. His work has not only pushed the boundaries of technology but has also greatly impacted the user experience and usability of digital applications.

With a passion for bridging the gap between humans and computers, Robert J.K. Jacob has published numerous influential research papers and co-authored several seminal books on HCI and interaction techniques. His expertise has been sought after by academia and industry alike, making him a respected figure in both realms.

Dr. Jacob's dedication to the field has earned him accolades and recognition within the computer science community. His contributions have helped shape the way we interact with technology and have paved the way for future advancements in HCI.

HCI group Sam Hincks thesis defense HCI group (older) HCI group at CHI 2016 HCI group at CHI 2015 Using head-mounted display and eye tracker

(Some photos courtesy of Dan Afergan and Hyejin Im)